Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a big cheap date fail.

jamess birthday is on friday. thing is, his birthday is also his grandmas birthday, and his grandma, as nice and sweet as she is, is very much a "birthdays only count ON your actual birthday" kind of person, so, one of the family quirks ive had to get used to is always spending jamess birthday with his grandma. now james is very close with his grandma, and she lives nearly three hours away in (east county? south county? my sense of geography only exists in the area south of hollywood and north of long beach) san diego and we dont get to go see her a lot, so this arrangement works pretty well. 

except one thing. ive never gotten to take james out for his birthday, you know, on a real birthday date, where i surprise him and take him somewhere nice for dinner and we dress up and drink wine while someone else watches alice. this is his fourth birthday since weve been together (really? its been that long? i guess so), and this is the first year ive been able to pull it off (ive also managed to put together a little birthday party for him too, but youll hear plenty about that later). 

the reason id never been able to pull this off before, is that the whole going to san diego for jamess actual birthday thing is basically non-negotiable, and that creates a couple of big complications. first, the date has to be very carefully scheduled so that it doesnt interfere with the san diego plans. and second, going to jamess grandmas house and back uses an entire tank of gas and creates kind of a financial strain (especially when works been slow for the both of us), so this date needed to be cheap. actually, not just cheap, CHEAP. but still nice enough to count as a birthday date. 

as you can see, we went to benihana, which is totally unreasonably expensive (and honestly, im really not into the shtick), except they give you a FREE $30 gift certificate for the month of your birthday. i think what they intend for you to do is get your whole family together for a giant benihana party and use your gift certificate for one full-priced entree and drink for the birthday person. but what our plan was to sit in the sushi bar area, order $31 of sushi to share (benihana actually has really good sushi and its not nearly as overpriced as the hibachi stuff) and some wine, and after the gift certificate all we have to pay for is tax, tip, and wine. $15 tops. weve managed to successfully do this twice last year, once for a slightly rushed lunch for jamess last birthday (he worked really weird hours at that time), and for a stressful misbehaving alice dinner for mine. but still, we were pros at this. (it also helps that our birthdays are almost exactly six months apart, cause twice a year is exactly how much benihana i can handle)

so last night we go to benihana, by ourselves, plan fully in place, what could possibly go wrong? turns out, lots. first of all, despite the fact that it was TUESDAY, the restaurant was packed. like, two hour wait for a grill table packed. thankfully we were there for sushi, but there was still a twenty minute plus wait for a table, so we found a table in the bar area and picked out some wine while we waited. james goes up to the bar to order, and comes back with our wine, PLUS two sodas. not sure why he thought we both needed a soda, benihana only has pepsi products so i didnt want one, and he could have added his to the birthday certificate balance if he had ordered it at our table, so both were entirely unnecessary . i swear i will never understand his logic. anyways, our bar bill was $20. 

 i feel like i need to take a second and disclaimer that tensions were already pretty high in the meyers household due to some  less than awesome news at my doctor appointment on monday and stress about this upcoming weekend, i like to think that i am NOT normally this uptight, although i probably am. anyways, this is where i started trying REALLY hard not to lose it.i reminded myself that it was jamess BIRTHDAY, and since now the drinks were already payed for, dinner would be even cheaper, so we move on, get called for our table, order some food and have an enjoyable dinner together for the first time in a while ("real dates" are kind of the first thing to go for us when money gets tight). then the bill comes. apparently james accidentally ordered one of the monthly "chef specials", which is one of literally THREE things excluded from the birthday certificate. 

now i really start freaking out. jamess dinner is going to cost full price. our only options at this point is to either leave now and only use half the certificate towards my meal, OR order $16 more of free sushi to take home. either way were stuck with a $25 bill, so we decide to get some extra sushi. and it took forever for those tuna rolls to get to us. FOREVER. FOR EV ER. 

and at this point ive just lost it. my perfect $15 date that ive been planning all week has just gone down the toilet. i FAILED. at the one thing in life that i work hardest on. FAILED. all i could think about was how we couldnt afford a $45 date this week, and even if we could, it most certainly would not have been at benihana. i got way more upset about this than was even reasonable, and NONE of jamess attempts to console me were working. i was angry, and that made james angry, and both of us being stubborn firstborns there was just no reasoning with either of us. we barely spoke to each other for the rest of the night. it was horrible. my plan failed AND i let it ruin our night. 

then this morning while getting alices breakfast ready i noticed that we had enough free sushi to have it for dinner tonight. i looked at our picture from dinner and realized that, yeah it didnt go according to plan, but it was a really, really nice date. and i FINALLY got to take james out for his birthday. i had A LOT of apologizing to do. thankfully james is a very, very forgiving husband, and we were able to have a normal day today. 

so i guess theres two lessons here, one: no matter how sure i am about something, it wont ever hurt to triple check the fine print, and two: i REALLY shouldnt be so uptight, i try to justify doing it, that it proves useful sometimes, but also sometimes its too much. so maybe in october, when we get my birthday certificate, ill have a happy benihana story to share. maybe. 

p.s. i probably wont be posting for the rest of the week due to jamess other birthday festivities, but ill be back, i promise. 

No comments:

Post a Comment